Overview and Preface


Project management is not just for project managers anymore. Organizations of all shapes and sizes continue to transform the ways they innovate and deliver on their promise to continuously improve customer satisfaction levels. When an organization introduces change, it is crucial for it to be done correctly the first time. However, disruption is the new normal. Succeeding in such turbulent times means organizations cannot afford to waste precious resources on failed projects. This has led to a recognition that the tools, techniques and processes associated with project management can help organizations be successful. Within this context, this text refers to the leader of a project as a “project leader.” This is a generic term to recognize that the title given to the individual that is responsible for project success is often not “project manager”.

Project management is an ancient practice. People have been undertaking projects since the earliest days of organized human activity. The hunting parties of our prehistoric ancestors were projects. Large complex developments, such as the Giza Pyramid Complex and the Great Wall of China, were also projects. Planning a vacation, getting married, and achieving a degree, diploma or certificate are all projects as well. All of us are engaged in projects on a regular basis in our daily lives.

Projects are unique. Although all of us are engaged in projects, each project requires a unique approach based on the objectives to be achieved, the complexity of the work required, the nature and number of stakeholders involved, and the clarity of the solutions being pursued. Those skilled in the art and science of project management have the capacity to tailor the use of tools, techniques, and processes in order to maximize the value delivered to and by the organization.

In our rapidly changing world, organizations need an agile mindset in order to thrive. Similarly, project management professionals need an agile mindset to deliver value to an organization. Agility is one of the most commonly used terms of the 21st century. It has a different meaning to different people. In this text, an important distinction will be made between organizational agility and agile as a development methodology

American software engineer Jim Highsmith, who is one of the 17 original signatories of the Agile Manifesto, defined organizational agility as “the ability to adapt and respond to change.” Highsmith also noted that agile organizations “view change as an opportunity, not a threat.” In development methodology, “agile” is used to refer to an overarching term for a family of delivery frameworks and practices that promote adaptive, incremental development.

All organizations must be agile. The pursuit of organizational agility requires people to shift the way they think about measuring success. Success measurement shifts from a focus on results in terms of effort and output to a focus on outcomes and value delivered. Successful project leaders have embraced this mindset shift and no longer require solutions to be well-defined up front.

However, this does not mean that all organizations must use an agile delivery framework when introducing change. Agile has become much more than a delivery framework. It is now an imperative leadership philosophy, mindset, and approach. This text will introduce students to the predictive (also known as waterfall) approach and the adaptive delivery approach since both frameworks are used in organizations pursuing agility.


The primary purpose of this text is to provide professors and students with an open-source textbook that can be used in introductory project management courses. The objective is to develop a concise, widely applicable open-source textbook that can be used in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. For this reason, the term “organization” is used instead of “business” and “corporation.”  In addition, the author has intentionally left out examples from fields of practice, such as business, engineering, and information technology, in order to ensure this text has universal applicability. The intention is to provide an overview of the fundamentals that will allow students and instructors to work with their own program-specific case studies, exercises, and assessments to fulfil the appropriate learning objectives.

The material in the text was obtained from a variety of sources. Sources are found in the reference section at the end of each chapter as well as in the Acknowledgement section.

I welcome your feedback and would love to know how you are using the materials.
Please send your feedback to Professor Shelly Morris, Faculty of Business at Seneca College: shelly.morris@senecacollege.ca

Version 1. Released on May 17, 2021.



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Project Management Fundamentals Copyright © 2021 by Shelly Morris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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